Posts Tagged 'Center for Creative Connections'

The Mother Load

Visit the Center for Creative Connections (C3) over the next few months to view The Mother Load, a collaborative project and interactive community installation created by artists Lesli Robertson and Natalie Macellaio that explores the balance between being an artist while also being a mother. The project engages artists from all over the globe both on the Mother Load website and in person. You can attend a visual performance lecture, Hot Potato Called Motherby Israeli artist Shira Richter of The Mother Load project at the DMA tomorrow, October 2, at 7:00 p.m.

Natalie Macelleio (left) and Lesli Robertson (right)

Natalie Macellaio (left) and Lesli Robertson (right)

How has the Mother Load project affected your perspective on being a mother and an artist?

Natalie Macellaio (artist; co-creator of The Mother Load): I feel like I’ve become more interested in collaborating with other women and other artists in general. I’ve become more aware of people’s strengths and how they can best benefit from different things that are happening. I’ve tried to become a little more selfless and look for opportunities not just for myself but for other people I know.

Lesli Robertson (artist; co-creator of The Mother Load): I think one of the things it’s done is to encourage me to continue to dream big. Having children doesn’t mean we have to shut off any part of ourselves, but rather we imagine other possibilities. We can change our practice in a way that will help us move forward and accomplish the things we, as artists, want to do. You don’t have to step backwards, but step forwards.

Shira Richter

Shira Richter

Shira Richter (visiting artist with the Mother Load project): The Mother Load makes me very happy because it’s a non-subject, really, and Lesli and Natalie have helped it become more a subject in its own accord with this international dialogue. It’s extremely important: just the other day, I heard about an art student who couldn’t find a sitter, so she came to class with her baby and the professor basically kicked her out. The student has been trying to fight it, and she felt very alone, but a friend sent her to me, and now there’s this big international conversation going on. It gives us backing, it makes this issue more visible and that’s what we’re trying to do in general, make a connection between motherhood and being an artist. It’s like a worldwide guild. From what I know about it, the art world is extremely sexist, so having an international group of serious people talking about this as a serious subject makes me feel as though my chest is growing just as we speak.

How do you fit in time to be creative? 

LR: By working in collaboration with Natalie. That helps us find the time to be creative and work as artists. Since our children are young, it has been important to go to each other’s studios, and to designate that specific important time for that process to happen. I work at night, I work in the morning, and I also try to have time to think and dream.

Liam, Lesli's son, playing in her studio

Liam, Lesli’s son, playing in her studio

NM: I always try to keep things I’m working on with me. It could be a little project I can do in a few hours to something I work on for months. I always have it with me, at work or at home, so if I find an extra 30 minutes I can work on it. I’ve learned that the only way I can get anything done is to grab time when I can and when I have the energy. I’ve found that my best time is in the morning, so I get as much thinking and work done then as I can. Also, to have someone you’re accountable to when you work collaboratively forces you to stay on top of it and stay on your game, if you will.

Natalie's children, Milo and Fina

Natalie’s children, Milo and Fina

SR: First of all, I think it’s different according to the age of your kids, and it depends on context: do you have a partner who helps, do you have an extended group that helps such as friends, other artists, other mothers, helpers, grandmas, etc.? It really depends on that. Since my kids are older now (twelve), things have changed. At the beginning, I grabbed any minute I had. It’s why I shifted from being a filmmaker to an artist. I didn’t have time to make films anymore. I dissected the film into frames and became more of a photographer and artist in order to suit my new profession as a mother. I completely changed my medium and the way I work.

Shira installing a gallery show

Shira installing a gallery show

NM: Along those same lines, I also no longer create large-scale installations – I now create more intimate works and things I can get done in a reasonable amount of time.

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Visitors at the opening of The Mother Load at the DMA

What message would you like visitors to take home with them after visiting the DMA’s Mother Load installation?

NM: Lesli and I were just talking about it last night and thinking about the responses on the tiles. We are hoping that instead of running through the space, visitors will take a moment to reflect on their own lives and what they nurture. They don’t have to be an artist to relate to the idea of being a mother while also wanting to nurture something inside themselves. We hope that visitors take a few minutes to reflect on what they nurture and to figure out a good balance in their day-to-day activities.

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Visitors respond to the question “In your life right now, what do you nurture, and why?”

LR: To speak to another point, we also want visitors to discover new artists and the work they’re doing. We include QR codes because we want them to be a visual representation of the two sides of the artists, but also so visitors can find new artists that hopefully can be a great inspiration to them. The idea of art and motherhood and all these conversations aren’t in one culture, but are broader than that.

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A visitors scan one of the QR codes included in the installation

NM: Sometimes we feel we are so far away from other cultures and other people. We don’t feel like we have common ground, but we do, and it’s easier to find similarities between different countries, languages, and cultures than you realize. Lesli and I have had Skype conversations with women we’ve never met, and we find we have this common ground and can talk for an hour or two hours (that’s what happened the first time we talked with Shira). This is something extremely universal, and these conversations need to continue, maybe today more so than ever.

LR: Visitors to the DMA’s installation can read written responses on this topic from women all over the globe on the accompanying iPad in the installation or at themotherload.org.

SR: First of all, I haven’t been to the installation yet, but I am excited to see it. There’s so much on this subject that belongs not only to women artists but belongs to culture at large because we are creative beings. I think we in the Western world divide creativity and nurturing. Women artists who are mothers are trying to figure out how to connect these two and bring them back together. We find that, as we become mothers, it is so intense and that’s where the tear occurs; you’re using creativity to bring up this amazing human being but you also think “What about my career, my work?” We’re trying to bring these two elements back together and figure out a way to inspire ourselves and others.

Join us tomorrow for what is sure to be a unique performance-lecture experience.

Melissa Gonzales is the C3 Gallery Manager at the DMA.

 

Jazz and Jewelry: Celebrating Art Smith in August

In June, the DMA opened the beautiful exhibition From the Village to Vogue: The Modernist Jewelry of Art Smith, featuring 26 dynamic pieces of silver and gold jewelry created by artist Art Smith. 

 

 

To celebrate this show, we are making August the month of all things Art Smith. You can explore the show with a metalsmith during a  Gallery Talk; stop by the Center for Creative Connections to look at Smith’s tools; listen to the jazz that inspired Smith, every Thursday evening during Jazz in the Atrium; or, if you’re a teen, sign up for the Urban Armor Maker Club to create a programmable piece of jewelry. Be sure to check out the full schedule of events for more information.

 

Jazz in the Atrium

 

In addition to being one of the leading modernist jewelers of the mid-20th century, Smith was an avid jazz enthusiast and a supporter of early black modern dance groups. This inspired us to commission a new dance from our Arts District Neighbors, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, accompanied by a new jazz suite composed by jazz drummer Stockton Helbing.

 

 

First, we met with Nycole Ray, Artistic Director for Dallas Black Dance Theatre II, and Stockton to discuss the format of the piece—how long would the entire piece be, how many dances would comprise the whole performance, does there need to be transition music between the dances, what tempo would be best for each dance, what style of jazz would fit the feel of the piece, and more. We also agreed that a jazz trio would be best so the band and the dancers could all fit on stage together during the live performance.

 

Once those questions were answered, Stockton began composing an original piece of music he titled On 4th Street, after the location of Art Smith’s studio in New York. Stockton created MIDI demos of his music for Nycole to review before he went into the studio to make the final recording with other musicians.

 

We now have the final masters of the music, and Nycole has begun choreographing the dances and working with the dancers on the piece she titled Art on 4th Street.

 

Dallas Black Dance Theatre II

This dance will have its world premiere during the Friday, August 15 Late Night. In addition to Art on 4th Street, this evening will feature live jazz, jewelry making, a film screening of Paris Blues, tours, and more—all inspired by Art Smith!

 

Stacey Lizotte is Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services at the DMA.

 

 

#DMAVacation

Nic Nicosia, Vacation, 1986, cibachrome photograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Meisel Photochrome Corporation © 1986 Nic Nicosia, Dallas, Texas

Nic Nicosia, Vacation, 1986, cibachrome photograph, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Meisel Photochrome Corporation, © 1986 Nic Nicosia, Dallas, Texas

Earlier this month, the large photograph Vacation by Nic Nicosia was installed in the Center for Creative Connections (C3). Vacation is one of seven photographs that comprise Nic Nicosia’s Life As We Know It series. In this series depicting contemporary American life, Nicosia plays with everyday topics such as fashion, youth, and violence. Through his use of fabricated environments and staged scenes, Nicosia blurs the line between illusion and reality. This surreal atmosphere is enhanced by the ironic twists, such as the burning plane in the background, on what would otherwise be ordinary situations.

Inspired by this work of art, the C3 team created a photo station where visitors can pose for their own staged picnic-themed photograph. Some have embraced the surreal nature of Nicosia’s work more than others. Check out our visitors’ photographs and stop by C3 to snap a photo of your DMA vacation.

Jessica Fuentes is the C3 Gallery Coordinator

How Many Words Are There for “Light”

How many words can you think of that describe light? Your list can include characteristics, opposite words, and metaphors for the concept of light.

A Panel Depicting the Tuba Tree, with the 99 Names of God on its Leaves, c. 1900, watercolor on paper, The James and Ana Melikian Collection

A Panel Depicting the Tuba Tree, with the 99 Names of God on its Leaves, c. 1900, watercolor on paper, The James and Ana Melikian Collection

The exhibition Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World explores the concept of light and the many ways it is captured, studied, and featured in works of art and scientific objects from Islamic culture (nur is the Arabic word for “light”). A work of art from the exhibition titled A Panel Depicting the Tuba Tree, with the 99 Names of God on Its Leaves is currently on view in the Center for Creative Connections (C3). This painting illustrates the concept that there can be many meanings associated with a single idea. Similarly, visitors are invited to add their ideas to a growing collection of light-related words in the accompanying community installation.

Leave your ideas on what light is through the run of the exhibition, which closes on June 29.

Melissa Nelson Gonzales is the C3 Gallery Manager at the DMA.

Makers Made

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Now in its fifth month, Maker Club is a free drop-in program for ages 13-19 that asks, “What happens when art, science, and technology mix?” Capitalizing on the popularity of the Maker movement and incorporating elements from STEAM education, Maker Club is a combination between open studio and led workshop that explores a different theme each month.

Image courtesy of makeymakey.com

Image courtesy of makeymakey.com

Experimentation and open-endedness rule the day as traditional art materials and tech-based supplies are thrown into the ring together. Past projects have included creating a Makey Makey mini-arcade, making found-object sculptures from discarded electronics, and using electro-luminescent (EL) wire and glow-in-the-dark screen-printing ink to make light-up clothing and accessories.
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Since no experience is required to take part, Maker Club also provides an opportunity for teens to learn and “level up” a variety of skills–from new artistic processes and creative problem solving, to circuit building, soldering and more. Group learning and collaboration is also a happy by-product of this process; oftentimes, the adult facilitators are learning just as much from the students as vice versa.
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So why have a maker-type program in an art museum? To me, the ideas aren’t mutually exclusive, but rather complementary. In the latest issue of Make magazine, Don Undeen, manager of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s MediaLab, writes that all artists are, in fact, makers, and that museums have the potential to be a living forum where the two groups can talk to and inform one another.

There are even makers in the DMA’s collection, and those artists inspire the Makers Club members. Martin Delabano’s Family Portrait gave one teen the idea for this found-object sculture (pictured below). See how many makers you can spot in the DMA’s collection on your next visit.
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Martin Delabano, Family Portrait 1963, 2001, mixed media, Dallas Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Bryant M. Hanley, Jr., Lorine and David H. Gibson, and Sonny Burt and Bob Butler

JC Bigornia is the C3 program coordinator at the DMA.

New Year, New You

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Whether you set specific goals for 2014, or are just considering ways to give back to the community, the C3 Volunteer Program may be right for you. Center for Creative Connections (C3) volunteers help visitors to enjoy and explore the Museum’s collection and interactive activities, both in the C3 and in our collection galleries.

We’ve invited Kenton Visser, an artist and current C3 volunteer, to share his experiences–and a few of his works–with “Uncrated.”
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The first question I ask myself when I wind up somewhere new is “Where is the art?” The Dallas Museum of Art has been the best answer I’ve found to that question in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

During my first visit to the DMA, my sister and I spent over an hour in C3. We were excited by how the Museum valued a space for visitors to not just observe art objects but respond by creating as well. The people at the DMA are aware that the Museum contains worlds to be found, and they encourage exploration with self-guided tours that focus on a particular theme or subject in various areas of the collection. As my personal take on these tours, I sometimes give myself drawing assignments in order to absorb what’s on display more fully, often surprising myself with what I can notice if I really look.

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Recent changes with the DMA’s return to  free general admission and the launch of  DMA Friends  have removed barriers and made it easy for visitors to gain rewards based on a point system. Volunteering brings its own rewards (such as free parking and free admission to special exhibitions and events) as well as 500 points for every shift. Naturally, I’ve enjoyed these perks, but volunteering has been rewarding enough in itself.

Although the Museum isn’t exactly close by for me (I currently live south of Fort Worth), I’ve always found it to be worth the trip. I applied to be a volunteer this past summer, looking for a way to better connect with artistic circles. My monthly shifts have given me a recurring reason to visit the Museum, and volunteering with C3 has provided an energizing platform for interacting with visitors through art. Even though I spend a large portion of my time making art, being in the Museum (and especially in C3) gives me a unique chance to see how art is received by a wide variety of people. School groups, individuals, adults and children, those who have studied art and those who haven’t—everyone who comes into C3 has a different reaction to the art and the hands-on activities available.
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I’ve particularly enjoyed volunteering at the Pop-Up Art Spot, a compact cart stocked with simple activities that shows up in different galleries each week. It’s a nice oasis in the galleries and brings creative connections to people who wouldn’t seek out the main C3 space. I’ve been able to win over a number of visitors who seem unsure about participating in an activity (usually “I can’t draw” or “Isn’t this for kids?”) but then find themselves thoroughly enjoying it. Because I’m usually drawing or working on activities myself, I often have conversations with visitors about my own art. I’ve even had a few requests to prove my abilities by drawing portraits of the visitors or popular cartoon characters. These experiences in the C3 Gallery and Pop-Up Art Spot are perfect proof of the DMA’s belief that an art museum shouldn’t be just a building full of objects but a place where art happens.

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If you are interested in becoming a C3 volunteer, request an application here. The application deadline is Friday, January 10.

Kenton Visser is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and has lived in Crowley, Texas, since 2009. In addition to volunteering, he works as an illustrator, studio assistant and certified framer. His portfolio can be seen on his website.

Melissa Nelson Gonzales is the C3 gallery manager at the DMA.

A Year of Launches, Anniversaries, and Free at the DMA

The year 2013 has been an exciting one at the DMA. We’ve welcomed more than 540,000 visitors, launched new programs, and hosted 11 exhibitions. Below are a few of the Uncrated team’s favorite highlights from the past year.

      • Going free!
        We returned to free general admission on January 21 and have loved every minute of opening our doors for free to the North Texas community.
      • Getting more than 41,000 new friends
        In January we launched DMA Friends, the first free museum membership program, and our new friends have been earning points on their visits and redeeming them for unique rewards for almost 12 months!
      • DMA sleepover
        Speaking of unique rewards, we hosted our first DMA Overnight in November. Ten DMA Friends redeemed 100,000 points to spend the night at the Museum with a guest while exploring the galleries after hours, participating in new DMA games and sleeping under the watchful eyes of Tlaloc.
        Overnight Guests
      • C3 got a facelift
        Come by and see new works of art and activities for all ages in the front gallery of the Center for Creative Connections on Level 1.
      • A sky of denim
        The DMA co-organized exhibition Jim Hodges: Give More Than You Take (on view through January 12!) is full of beautiful and interesting works of art, but we had the privilege of being the first venue to ever show his denim work Untitled (one day it all comes true). It was amazing getting to witness Jim Hodges viewing his completed work on display for the first time.
        hodges
      • Happy Anniversary!
        This was the year of anniversaries here at the DMA, including the 110th birthday of the DMA, the 80th anniversary of the Dallas Free Public Art Gallery becoming the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, the 50th anniversary of the merger of the DMFA and DMCA, the 30th anniversary of the DMA Sculpture Garden opening, the 20th anniversary of the Hamon Building opening (which includes Level 4 and the Atrium), Arturo’s 10th birthday, and the 5th anniversary of C3.
      • From Greece to Dallas
        We had a year of amazing exhibitions, from a celebration of President Kennedy in Hotel Texas: An Art Exhibition for the President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy to the colorful world of Chagall’s sculptures, drawings and costumes in Chagall:Beyond Color, from the famous Discus Thrower from the British Museum in The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece to welcoming the local art community in DallasSITES: Available Space.
      • Art/Arte
        This fall we launched our first-ever bilingual (Spanish and English) guide for visitors, written by members of the Dallas community through a partnership program with AVANCE-Dallas and Make Art With Purpose. Pick one up at the Visitor Services Desk on your next visit.
      • Texas hops and barley
        This summer we had a Texas beer social for Museum staff and sampled brews that come from the Lone Star State. Uncrated team member Melissa Nelson Gonzales out- sipped the competition and won the beer tasting contest!
        beer
      • Eyes of the  Ancestors
        In June we celebrated the publication of our catalogue Eyes of the Ancestors: The Arts of Island Southeast Asia at the Dallas Museum of Art and welcomed special guest Dhalang Purbo Asmoro, who hosted a public gamelan and wayang performance with musicians from Java, Bali and New York. This month, the book was named the winner of the 2013 International Tribal Art Book Prize.
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      • Creative rest stop
        We launched a new program this year, the Pop-Up Art Spot, taking C3 into the galleries and inviting visitors to enjoy a creative break while exploring the Museum. Over 12,000 visitors of all ages have participated in drawing, writing and other creative activities!
      • New digs
        In 2013 a portion of the south end of the building was under renovation for the new DMA Paintings Conservation Studio (watch the transition here). Visitors can see into the DMA’s Conservation Studio and explore the conservation process in the adjacent gallery for free during Museum hours. A recent conservation project, Daniel Buren’s Sanction of the Museum, hangs in the Concourse and leads the way to the studio.
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      • A Texas-size howdy!
        Our Visitor Services Team, which greets every guest of the DMA when they walk through our doors or visit the galleries, also got a makeover. You may have noticed their friendly smiles and new outfits during your visits this year.
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Thank you for helping us make 2013 a great year. We wish you a very happy new year!

Kimberly Daniell is the manager of communications and public affairs at the DMA.


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